Discount operation roll-out follows major flooring expansion for Grimsby family firm

Strong growth in the domestic market has seen a third generation Grimsby carpet business realise an outlet ambition while diversifying into the home-owners wider needs.

The Positive Co, the rebranded parent company of the Shaw family’s GCW, has added Flooring Discount Warehouse to its offer, alongside the flagship Freeman Street store, Flooring Express on Cleethorpe Road and Ashton’s of Louth. The latter two have been acquired over the past year, one from within the family and another from a retiring retailer.

Myes Shaw, managing director, told how the opportunity emerged for remnants as it readjusted to normal trading conditions following a sales surge in lockdown. It had led to an increase in warehousing requirements to prepare flooring for customers during what became a home improvement boom.

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He said: “We experienced ridiculous growth in 2020, and went from 25 people to 73. We know we always need three things when it comes to growth; money, space and people. We had the money, we had the people, but we didn’t have the space. We already had 30,000 sq ft of warehousing, and took it on as additional warehousing, then the market changed after the pandemic, and with Ukraine, the Suez Canal issue, and the squeeze on the economy, we had to change too.”

Located on Birchin Way, where the company’s substantial back-room operations are now based, the 9,000 sq ft site has opened to the trade and public this week. Initially putting it on the market, he opted against getting rid, and “decided to do something entrepreneurial, and retail from it”.

How it started, how it's going... the original GCW and the Flooring Express and Ashtons of Louth additions.
How it started, how it’s going… the original GCW and the Flooring Express and Ashtons of Louth additions.

Flooring Discount Warehouse, The Positive Co's latest venture on Grimsby's Birchin Way.
Flooring Discount Warehouse, The Positive Co’s latest venture on Grimsby’s Birchin Way.

“We have three retail stores, and generate a ridiculous amount of roll ends every year, so we needed an outlet,” Mr Shaw said. “I have always wanted one, but never felt we were at the size where we could realise it fully. Now we have it, and this is for the people of Grimsby to get some unbelievable deals.”

Recent changes have also seen the business step back from commercial flooring, concentrating on the home market, while also finding new build homes a strong source of sales. The past year has seen it floor 650 plots.

Mr Shaw is approaching a decade at the helm, and last year’s Northern Lincolnshire Business Person of the Year had brought clicks to the bricks and mortar retailing family business, introducing online sales. Another remnant use – carpet runners – has been an international success, with web orders now accounting for almost half of the company’s £7 million annual turnover, with huge demand in the US.

“The key is to bring financial sustainability to the business,” he said. “We know from experience all six elements won’t perform at the same time, and we are also future-proofing.” Of the sofa and bed additions, with plans in place to make Freeman Street a two-storey retail offer, having moved the warehousing out, Mr Shaw said: “As a business we are invited into homes, we give great customer service and quality products, and if they are buying a carpet there is a good chance they are also changing a bed or a sofa.”

Managing director Myles Shaw within the extensive warehouse operations, the process-driven beating heart of The Positive Co's flooring offer, off Birchin Way, Grimsby.
Managing director Myles Shaw within the extensive warehouse operations, the process-driven beating heart of The Positive Co’s flooring offer, off Birchin Way, Grimsby.

It has recently secured Financial Conduct Authority backing to provide interest free credit on purchases too.

“Eventually we will get to the point where GCW will be a homeware store in Grimsby and stand toe-to-toe with the good names of the town such as Ramsdens, Allenby Stevensons and Lees,” Mr Shaw said. “There is no rush, we’re enjoying the journey, every single day of it. We work hard and my brothers and I know hard work pays off. Hard work and persistence pays off. Our hard work has made us successful, and success will remain with hard work.”

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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